Gold is a chemical element with symbol Au and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. In its purest form, it is a bright reddish yellow, soft and ductile metal. Chemically, gold is a group 11 element, it is solid under standard conditions. Gold occurs in free elemental form, as nuggets or grains, in rocks, in veins, in alluvial deposits, it occurs in a solid solution series with the native element silver and naturally alloyed with copper and palladium. Less it occurs in minerals as gold compounds with tellurium. Gold is resistant to most acids, though it does dissolve in aqua regia, a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, which forms a soluble tetrachloroaurate anion. Gold is insoluble in nitric acid, which dissolves silver and base metals, a property that has long been used to refine gold and to confirm the presence of gold in metallic objects, giving rise to the term acid test. Gold dissolves in alkaline solutions of cyanide, which are used in mining and electroplating.
Gold dissolves in mercury, forming amalgam alloys. A rare element, gold is a precious metal, used for coinage and other arts throughout recorded history. In the past, a gold standard was implemented as a monetary policy, but gold coins ceased to be minted as a circulating currency in the 1930s, the world gold standard was abandoned for a fiat currency system after 1971. A total of 186,700 tonnes of gold exists above ground, as of 2015; the world consumption of new gold produced is about 50% in jewelry, 40% in investments, 10% in industry. Gold's high malleability, resistance to corrosion and most other chemical reactions, conductivity of electricity have led to its continued use in corrosion resistant electrical connectors in all types of computerized devices. Gold is used in infrared shielding, colored-glass production, gold leafing, tooth restoration. Certain gold salts are still used as anti-inflammatories in medicine; as of 2017, the world's largest gold producer by far was China with 440 tonnes per year.
Gold is the most malleable of all metals. It can be drawn into a monoatomic wire, stretched about twice before it breaks; such nanowires distort via formation and migration of dislocations and crystal twins without noticeable hardening. A single gram of gold can be beaten into a sheet of 1 square meter, an avoirdupois ounce into 300 square feet. Gold leaf can be beaten thin enough to become semi-transparent; the transmitted light appears greenish blue, because gold reflects yellow and red. Such semi-transparent sheets strongly reflect infrared light, making them useful as infrared shields in visors of heat-resistant suits, in sun-visors for spacesuits. Gold is a good conductor of electricity. Gold has a density of 19.3 g/cm3 identical to that of tungsten at 19.25 g/cm3. By comparison, the density of lead is 11.34 g/cm3, that of the densest element, osmium, is 22.588±0.015 g/cm3. Whereas most metals are gray or silvery white, gold is reddish-yellow; this color is determined by the frequency of plasma oscillations among the metal's valence electrons, in the ultraviolet range for most metals but in the visible range for gold due to relativistic effects affecting the orbitals around gold atoms.
Similar effects impart a golden hue to metallic caesium. Common colored gold alloys include the distinctive eighteen-karat rose gold created by the addition of copper. Alloys containing palladium or nickel are important in commercial jewelry as these produce white gold alloys. Fourteen-karat gold-copper alloy is nearly identical in color to certain bronze alloys, both may be used to produce police and other badges. White gold alloys can be made with nickel. Fourteen- and eighteen-karat gold alloys with silver alone appear greenish-yellow and are referred to as green gold. Blue gold can be made by alloying with iron, purple gold can be made by alloying with aluminium. Less addition of manganese, aluminium and other elements can produce more unusual colors of gold for various applications. Colloidal gold, used by electron-microscopists, is red. Gold has only one stable isotope, 197Au, its only occurring isotope, so gold is both a mononuclidic and monoisotopic element. Thirty-six radioisotopes have been synthesized, ranging in atomic mass from 169 to 205.
The most stable of these is 195Au with a half-life of 186.1 days. The least stable is 171Au. Most of gold's radioisotopes with atomic masses below 197 decay by some combination of proton emission, α decay, β+ decay; the exceptions are 195Au, which decays by electron capture, 196Au, which decays most by electron capture with a minor β− decay path. All of gold's radioisotopes with atomic masses above 197 decay by β− decay. At least 32 nuclear isomers have been characterized, ranging in atomic mass from 170 to 200. Within that range, only 178Au, 180Au, 181Au, 182Au, 188Au do not have isomers. Gold's most stable isomer is 198m2Au with a half-life of 2.27 days. Gold's least stable isomer is 177m2Au with a half-life of only 7 ns. 184m1Au has three decay paths: β+ decay, isomeric
Heraldry is a broad term, encompassing the design and study of armorial bearings, as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony and pedigree. Armory, the best-known branch of heraldry, concerns the design and transmission of the heraldic achievement; the achievement, or armorial bearings includes a coat of arms on an shield and crest, together with any accompanying devices, such as supporters, heraldic banners, mottoes. Although the use of various devices to signify individuals and groups goes back to antiquity, both the form and use of such devices varied and the concept of regular, hereditary designs, constituting the distinguishing feature of heraldry, did not develop until the High Middle Ages, it is often that the use of helmets with face guards during this period made it difficult to recognize one's commanders in the field when large armies gathered together for extended periods, necessitating the development of heraldry as a symbolic language but there is little actual support for this view.
The beauty and pageantry of heraldic designs allowed them to survive the gradual abandonment of armour on the battlefield during the seventeenth century. Heraldry has been described poetically as "the handmaid of history", "the shorthand of history", "the floral border in the garden of history". In modern times, individuals and private organizations, cities and regions use heraldry and its conventions to symbolize their heritage and aspirations. Various symbols have been used to represent groups for thousands of years; the earliest representations of distinct persons and regions in Egyptian art show the use of standards topped with the images or symbols of various gods, the names of kings appear upon emblems known as serekhs, representing the king's palace, topped with a falcon representing the god Horus, of whom the king was regarded as the earthly incarnation. Similar emblems and devices are found in ancient Mesopotamian art of the same period, the precursors of heraldic beasts such as the griffin can be found.
In the Bible, the Book of Numbers refers to the standards and ensigns of the children of Israel, who were commanded to gather beneath these emblems and declare their pedigrees. The Greek and Latin writers describe the shields and symbols of various heroes, units of the Roman army were sometimes identified by distinctive markings on their shields; until the nineteenth century, it was common for heraldic writers to cite examples such as these, metaphorical symbols such as the "Lion of Judah" or "Eagle of the Caesars" as evidence of the antiquity of heraldry itself. The Book of Saint Albans, compiled in 1486, declares that Christ himself was a gentleman of coat armour, but these fabulous claims have long since been dismissed as the fantasy of medieval heralds, for there is no evidence of a distinctive symbolic language akin to that of heraldry during this early period. The medieval heralds devised arms for various knights and lords from history and literature. Notable examples include the toads attributed to Pharamond, the cross and martlets of Edward the Confessor, the various arms attributed to the Nine Worthies and the Knights of the Round Table.
These too are now regarded as a fanciful invention, rather than evidence of the antiquity of heraldry. The development of the modern heraldic language cannot be attributed to a single individual, time, or place. Although certain designs that are now considered heraldic were evidently in use during the eleventh century, most accounts and depictions of shields up to the beginning of the twelfth century contain little or no evidence of their heraldic character. For example, the Bayeux Tapestry, illustrating the Norman invasion of England in 1066, commissioned about 1077, when the cathedral of Bayeux was rebuilt, depicts a number of shields of various shapes and designs, many of which are plain, while others are decorated with dragons, crosses, or other heraldic figures, yet no individual is depicted twice bearing the same arms, nor are any of the descendants of the various persons depicted known to have borne devices resembling those in the tapestry. An account of the French knights at the court of the Byzantine emperor Alexius I at the beginning of the twelfth century describes their shields of polished metal, utterly devoid of heraldic design.
A Spanish manuscript from 1109 describes both plain and decorated shields, none of which appears to have been heraldic. The Abbey of St. Denis contained a window commemorating the knights who embarked on the Second Crusade in 1147, was made soon after the event. In England, from the time of the Norman conquest, official documents had to be sealed. Beginning in the twelfth century, seals assumed a distinctly heraldic character. A notable example of an early armorial seal is attached to a charter granted by Philip I, Count of Flanders, in 1164. Seals from the latter part of the eleventh and early twelfth centuries show no evidence of heraldic symbolism, but by t
Coat of arms of Finland
The coat of arms of Finland is a crowned lion on a red field, the right foreleg replaced with an armoured hand brandishing a sword, trampling on a sabre with the hindpaws. The coat of arms was created around the year 1580; the heraldic lion is quite common in Western Europe, several European countries incorporate it into their national coats of arms. In Nordic heraldry, the lion is first found in the coat of arms of Denmark in the part of the 12th century. Starting in the 13th century, the territory of today's Finland was incorporated into the Swedish kingdom, this coincided with the period when coats of arms first came into use in northern Europe; the first known use of the lion in Sweden was on the royal seals of Erik Knutsson and Erik Eriksson, who used two and three lions on their seal, respectively. The first king of the Folkunga family, Valdemar Birgersson used 3 lions on his seal. Bengt Birgersson, the first Duke of Finland, Valdemar Magnusson, the second Duke, both used the Folkunga coat of arms, a crowned lion rampant with three bends sinister, the main difference being that Valdemar's arms had the field strewn with hearts.
This version of the arms was quite similar to the modern coat of arms of Finland, but the lion did not yet brandish any weapon. When John III assumed the title of "Grand Duke of Finland and Karelia", shortened to Grand Duke of Finland in 1577, the lion became associated with Finland through the grand-ducal coats of arms; the grand-ducal coat of arms is thought to have resulted out of a combination of the Göta lion and the arms of Karelia. The result was that the lion brandishes treads on another; the best-known version of the grand-ducal coat of arms is found on the tomb of Gustavus I in the Uppsala cathedral. It has been suggested that either Duke John himself, or his brother Eric XIV, was leading the design work on the heraldic signs on the tomb. Neither statement can be confirmed; the monument was commissioned from Guillaume Boyen, a Flemish architect and sculptor who had worked in Sweden. He started on the task in Antwerp in 1562. In addition to the royal arms of Sweden and those of Finland, the arms of the 11 provinces are depicted.
From Finland they include South Finland, as well as Tavastia and Karelia. The work of Willem Boy is of exceptional quality, explained by the fact that lions were a dominant feature in the heraldry of Flanders, he would therefore have had a great deal of exposure to it before receiving the commission for the tomb of Gustavus I; the earliest known blazon from this period states that the arms of Finland represents A crowned lion of gold holding a sword in the right forepaw and trampling with both hindpaws on a Russian sabre, surrounded by nine silver roses in a red field, over the shield a golden crown with a red cap. As both King Gustavus I and his son, John III, were involved in lengthy wars with Russia, it should come as no surprise that this was a central element in the arms of both the Grand Duchy of Finland, in that of the coat of arms of the Finnish province of Karelia, which symbolizes the struggle between East and West; the purpose of the nine roses remains unknown, but are now considered to be decorative only.
They have sometimes been claimed to represent the nine historical provinces of Finland, but this hypothesis has not found support among prominent scholars. The number of towns in the nominal "Grand Duchy of Finland and Karelia" in 1580 were nine, but no known historical research provides support for a link between the number of roses and the number of towns in Finland in 1580. During the following centuries, the arms of Finland were to appear in different versions of varying artistic quality, it was only in the late 19th century when the Uppsala lion was again taken into use as the prototype for the coat of arms of Finland; the lion experienced several changes during the 17th century. In the funeral banner of Charles X Gustavus it can be seen treading on the sabre with all three free paws. After Finland had been ceded to Russia, Elias Brenner's version of the lion was chosen by the authorities as the model for the new coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Finland in the Russian Empire; the blazon in the decree of 26 October 1809 states: The shield has a red field, strewn with roses of silver, on which a golden lion with a crown of gold, standing on a silver saber, which it grasps with the left forepaw while holding in the right forepaw an upright sword.
Any interpretation of the lion as trampling on a Russian sabre had been lost at this point in time. During the reform of the Russian official heraldry in 1857, the lion was again changed on the initiative of baron Bernhard Karl von Köhne; the blazon states: On a red field strewn with silver roses a crowned lion of gold, holding in the right forepaw an upright sword and in the left one a curved sword on which it rests with the right hindpaw. The main changes were that the lion had started to resemble a dog rather than a lion, the crown on top of the shield had been changed to an arched crown wit
The euro sign is the currency sign used for the euro, the official currency of the European Union and some non-EU countries. The design was presented to the public by the European Commission on 12 December 1996, it consists of a stylized letter E, crossed by two lines instead of one. The character is encoded in Unicode at U+20AC € EURO SIGN. In English, the sign precedes the value. In some style guides, the euro sign is not spaced; the euro currency sign was designed to be similar in structure to the old sign for the European Currency Unit. There were 32 proposals; these ten were put to a public survey. After the survey had narrowed the original ten proposals down to two, it was up to the European Commission to choose the final design; the other designs that were considered are not available for the public to view, nor is any information regarding the designers available for public query. The European Commission considers the process of designing to have been internal and keeps these records secret.
The eventual winner was a design created by a team of four experts whose identities have not been revealed. It is assumed that the Belgian graphic designer Alain Billiet was the winner and thus the designer of the euro sign. Inspiration for the € symbol itself came from the Greek epsilon – a reference to the cradle of European civilization – and the first letter of the word Europe, crossed by two parallel lines to ‘certify’ the stability of the euro; the official story of the design history of the euro sign is disputed by Arthur Eisenmenger, a former chief graphic designer for the European Economic Community, who claims he had the idea prior to the European Commission. The European Commission specified a euro logo with exact proportions and colours, for use in public-relations material related to the euro introduction. While the Commission intended the logo to be a prescribed glyph shape, type designers made it clear that they intended to design their own variants instead. Generating the euro sign using a computer depends on the operating system and national conventions.
Some mobile phone companies issued an interim software update for their special SMS character set, replacing the less-frequent Japanese yen sign with the euro sign. Mobile phones have both currency signs; the euro is represented in the Unicode character set with the character name EURO SIGN and the code position U+20AC as well as in updated versions of the traditional Latin character set encodings. In HTML, the &euro. An implicit character encoding, along with the fact that the code position of the euro sign is different in common encoding schemes, led to many problems displaying the euro sign in computer applications. While displaying the euro sign is no problem as long as only one system is used, mixed setups produced errors. One example is a content management system where articles are stored in a database using a different character set than the editor's computer. Another is legacy software which could only handle older encodings such as ISO 8859-1 that contained no euro sign at all. In such situations, character set conversions had to be made introducing conversion errors such as a question mark being displayed instead of a euro sign.
Care has been taken to avoid replacing an existing obsolete currency sign with the euro sign. That could create different currency signs for sender and receiver in e-mails or web sites, with confusions about business agreements as a result. Depending on keyboard layout and the operating system, the symbol can be entered as: AltGr+4 AltGr+5 AltGr+E AltGr+U Ctrl+Alt+4 Ctrl+Alt+5 Ctrl+Alt+e in Microsoft Word in United States layout Alt+0128 in Microsoft Windows Ctrl+⇧ Shift+u followed by 20ac in Chrome OS, in other operating systems using IBus. Ctrl+k followed by =e in the Vim text editor On the macOS operating system, a variety of key combinations are used depending on the keyboard layout, for example: ⌥ Option+2 in British layout ⌥ Option+⇧ Shift+2 in United States layout ⌥ Option+⇧ Shift+5 in Slovenian layout ⌥ Option+$ in French layout ⌥ Option+E in German and Italian layout ⇧ Shift+4 in Swedish layoutThe Compose key sequence for the euro sign is =E. Placement of the sign varies. Countries have sustained those of their former currencies.
For example, in Ireland and the Netherlands, where previous currency signs were placed before the figure, the euro sign is universally placed in the same position. In many other countries, including France, Germany, Spain and Lithuania, an amount such as €3.50 is written as 3,50 € instead in accordance with conventions for previous currencies. The European Union did indeed usher a guideline on the use of the euro sign, stating it should be placed in front of the amount without any space in English, but after the amount in most other languages. In English, the euro sign—like the dollar sign and the pound sign —is placed before the figure, unspaced, as used by publications such as the Financial Times and The Economist; when written out, "euro" is placed after the value in lower case. No official recommendation is made with regard to the use of a cent sign, usage differs between and within m
There are eight euro coin denominations, ranging from one cent to two euros. The coins first came into use in 2002, they have a common reverse, portraying a map of Europe, but each country in the eurozone has its own design on the obverse, which means that each coin has a variety of different designs in circulation at once. Four European microstates which use the euro as their currency have the right to mint coins with their own designs on the obverse side; the coins, various commemorative coins, are minted at numerous national mints across the European Union to strict national quotas. Obverse designs are chosen nationally, while the reverse and the currency as a whole is managed by the European Central Bank; the euro came into existence on 1 January 1999. It had been a goal of its predecessors since the 1960s; the Maastricht Treaty entered into force in 1993 with the goal of creating economic and monetary union by 1999 for all EU states except the UK and Denmark. In 1999 the currency was born and in 2002 notes and coins began to circulate.
It replaced the former national currencies and the eurozone has since expanded further to some newer EU states. In 2009 the Lisbon Treaty formalised its political authority, the Eurogroup, alongside the European Central Bank. In 2004 €2 commemorative coins were allowed to be minted in six states. By 2007, all states but France and the Netherlands had minted a commemorative issue and the first eurozone-wide commemorative coin was issued to celebrate 50 years of the Treaty of Rome. In 2009, the second eurozone-wide issue of a 2-euro commemorative coin was issued, celebrating ten years of the Economic and Monetary Union. In 2012, the third eurozone-wide issue of a 2-euro commemorative coin was issued, celebrating 10 years of euro coins and notes. To date, only Cyprus has not independently issued a €2 commemorative coin; as the EU's membership has since expanded in 2004, 2007 and 2013, with further expansions envisaged, the common face of all euro coins from the value of 10c and above were redesigned in 2007 to show a new map.
Slovenia joined the eurozone in 2007, Cyprus and Malta joined in 2008, Slovakia in 2009, Estonia in 2011, Latvia in 2014 and Lithuania in 2015, introducing seven more national-side designs. Andorra started minting coins in 2014, so from 2015 there are 23 countries with their own national sides. There are eight different denominations of euro coins: 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2; the 1c, 2c and 5c coins show Europe in relation to Africa in the world. The remaining coins show the EU before its enlargement in May 2004 if minted before 1 January 2007, or a geographical map of Europe if minted after. Coins from Italy, San Marino, the Vatican City and Portugal show the geographical map if minted in 2008 or later; the common side was designed by Luc Luycx of the Royal Belgian Mint. They symbolise the unity of the EU; the national sides were designed by the NCBs of the eurozone in separate competitions. There are specifications. National designs were not allowed to change until the end of 2008, unless a monarch dies or abdicates.
National designs have seen some changes due to a new rule stating that national designs should include the name of the issuing country. The common side of the 1c, 2c and 5c coins depict the denomination, the words'EURO CENT' beside it, twelve stars and Europe highlighted on a globe in relation to Asia and Africa in the world; the common side of the 10c, 20c and 50c coins depict the denomination on the right, the words'EURO CENT' underneath it, with twelve stars and the European continent on the left. Coins minted from 1999 to 2006 depicted only the EU15, rather than the entire European continent, on coins minted after 2007; the common side of the €1 and €2 coins depict the denomination on the left, the currency, map of Europe and twelve stars on the right. Coins minted from 1999 to 2006 depicted the EU15, rather than the whole European continent, on coins minted from 2007. All coins have a common reverse side showing how much the coin is worth, with a design by Belgian designer Luc Luycx; the design of the 1c, 2c and 5c coins shows Europe's place in the world as a whole.
The 10c coins and above show either the 15 countries that were the European Union in 2002, or, if minted after 2007, the whole European continent. Coins from Italy, San Marino, the Vatican and Portugal show the new design if minted 2008 or later; the coins symbolise the unity of the EU. On 7 June 2005, the European Council decided that the common side of the 10c to €2 coins should be brought up to date to reflect the enlargement of the EU in 2004; the 1c, 2c and 5c coins show Europe in relation to the rest of the world, therefore they remained unchanged. In 2007, the new design was introduced; the design still retains all elements of the original designs, including the twelve stars, but the map of the fifteen states is replaced by one showing the whole of Europe as a continent, without borders, to stress unity. These coins were not mandatory for existing eurozone members when introduced in 2007, but became so for every member in 2008. Cyprus is shown several hundred kilometres north west of its real position in order to include it on the map.
On the €1 and €2 coins, the island is shown to be directly east of mainland Greece. The original proposal from the European Commission was to include Turkey on the map, but this design was rejected by the Council; the original designs of the 10c, 20c and 50c coins showed the ou
European Central Bank
The European Central Bank is the central bank for the euro and administers monetary policy within the Eurozone, which comprises 19 member states of the European Union and is one of the largest monetary areas in the world. Established by the Treaty of Amsterdam, the ECB is one of the world's most important central banks and serves as one of seven institutions of the European Union, being enshrined in the Treaty on European Union; the bank's capital stock is owned by all 28 central banks of each EU member state. The current President of the ECB is Mario Draghi. Headquartered in Frankfurt, the bank occupied the Eurotower prior to the construction of its new seat; the primary objective of the ECB, mandated in Article 2 of the Statute of the ECB, is to maintain price stability within the Eurozone. Its basic tasks, set out in Article 3 of the Statute, are to set and implement the monetary policy for the Eurozone, to conduct foreign exchange operations, to take care of the foreign reserves of the European System of Central Banks and operation of the financial market infrastructure under the TARGET2 payments system and the technical platform for settlement of securities in Europe.
The ECB has, under Article 16 of its Statute, the exclusive right to authorise the issuance of euro banknotes. Member states can issue euro coins; the ECB is governed by European law directly, but its set-up resembles that of a corporation in the sense that the ECB has shareholders and stock capital. Its capital is €11 billion held by the national central banks of the member states as shareholders; the initial capital allocation key was determined in 1998 on the basis of the states' population and GDP, but the capital key has been adjusted. Shares in the ECB can not be used as collateral; the European Central Bank is the de facto successor of the European Monetary Institute. The EMI was established at the start of the second stage of the EU's Economic and Monetary Union to handle the transitional issues of states adopting the euro and prepare for the creation of the ECB and European System of Central Banks; the EMI itself took over from the earlier European Monetary Co-operation Fund. The ECB formally replaced the EMI on 1 June 1998 by virtue of the Treaty on European Union, however it did not exercise its full powers until the introduction of the euro on 1 January 1999, signalling the third stage of EMU.
The bank was the final institution needed for EMU, as outlined by the EMU reports of Pierre Werner and President Jacques Delors. It was established on 1 June 1998; the first President of the Bank was Wim Duisenberg, the former president of the Dutch central bank and the European Monetary Institute. While Duisenberg had been the head of the EMI just before the ECB came into existence, the French government wanted Jean-Claude Trichet, former head of the French central bank, to be the ECB's first president; the French argued. This was opposed by the German and Belgian governments who saw Duisenberg as a guarantor of a strong euro. Tensions were abated by a gentleman's agreement in which Duisenberg would stand down before the end of his mandate, to be replaced by Trichet. Trichet replaced Duisenberg as President in November 2003. There had been tension over the ECB's Executive Board, with the United Kingdom demanding a seat though it had not joined the Single Currency. Under pressure from France, three seats were assigned to the largest members, France and Italy.
Despite such a system of appointment the board asserted its independence early on in resisting calls for interest rates and future candidates to it. When the ECB was created, it covered a Eurozone of eleven members. Since Greece joined in January 2001, Slovenia in January 2007, Cyprus and Malta in January 2008, Slovakia in January 2009, Estonia in January 2011, Latvia in January 2014 and Lithuania in January 2015, enlarging the bank's scope and the membership of its Governing Council. On 1 December 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, ECB according to the article 13 of TEU, gained official status of an EU institution. In September 2011, when German appointee to the Governing Council and Executive board, Jürgen Stark, resigned in protest of the ECB's "Securities Market Programme" which involved the purchase of sovereign bonds by the ECB, a move, up until considered as prohibited by the EU Treaty; the Financial Times Deutschland referred to this episode as "the end of the ECB as we know it" referring to its perceived "hawkish" stance on inflation and its historical Bundesbank influence.
On 1 November 2011, Mario Draghi replaced Jean-Claude Trichet as President of the ECB. In April 2011, the ECB raised interest rates for the first time since 2008 from 1% to 1.25%, with a further increase to 1.50% in July 2011. However, in 2012–2013 the ECB lowered interest rates to encourage economic growth, reaching the low 0.25% in November 2013. Soon after the rates were cut to 0.15% on 4 September 2014 the central bank reduced the rates by two thirds from 0.15% to 0.05%, the lowest rates on record. In November 2014, the bank moved into its new premises; the primary objective of the European Central Bank, set out in Article 127 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, is to maintain price stability within the Eurozone. The Governing Council in October 1998 defined price stability as inflation of under 2%, “a year-on-year increase in the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices for the euro area of below 2
Symbols of Europe
A number of symbols of Europe have emerged since antiquity, notably the mythological figure of Europa herself. Several symbols were introduced in the 1960s by the Council of Europe; the European Communities have created additional symbols for itself in 1985, which were inherited by the European Union in 1993. Such symbols of the European Union now represent political positions in support of EU policies and European integration as advocated by the EU rather than Europe as a continent or cultural sphere. Europa was used as a geographical term, for one of the great divisions of the known world, by Herodotus, it became the geographical term for the landmass west of the Tanais in the Roman-era geography by Strabo and Ptolemy. Europa first began to be used in a cultural sense, denoting the territory of Latin Christendom, in the Carolingian period. Europa is a feminine name, the name of a nymph in Hesiod, in a legend first related by Herodotus, the name of a Phoenician noble-woman abducted by Greeks.
The classical legend of Europa being abducted not by Greek pirates but by Zeus in the shape of a bull is told in Ovid's Metamorphoses. According to this account, Zeus took the guise of a tame white bull and mixed himself with the herds of Europa's father. While Europa and her female attendants were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. There he revealed his true identity, Europa became the first queen of Crete. Zeus gave her a necklace made by Hephaestus and three additional gifts: Talos, Laelaps and a javelin that never missed. Zeus re-created the shape of the white bull in the stars, now known as the constellation Taurus. In addition to being a frequent motif in European art since Greco-Roman times, the founding myth of Europa and the bull has been alluded to in relation to the continent and by the modern European Union, can thus be considered not only a piece of toponymy, but as a symbol, or national personification of Europe.
For instance, statues of Europa and the bull are located outside several of the European Union's institutions, as well as on the Greek €2 coin. Europa's name appeared on postage stamps commemorating the Council of Europe, which were first issued in 1956. Furthermore, the dome of the European Parliament's Paul-Henri Spaak building contains a large mosaic by Aligi Sassu portraying the abduction of Europa with other elements of Greek mythology; the bull is in the top-left corner of the new design of the residence permit card of all European Union countries. Europa regina is the cartographic depiction of the European continent as a queen. Introduced and made popular during the mannerist period, Europa Regina is standing upright with the Iberian Peninsula forming her crowned head, Bohemia her heart, other European regions shown as a sceptre and a globus cruciger; the first map to depict Europe in this manner was made by Johannes Bucius Aenicola in 1537. Though much about the origination and initial perception of this map is uncertain, it is known that Putsch maintained close relations with Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I of Habsburg, that the map's popularity increased during the second half of the 16th century.
At the time, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V had united the lands of the Habsburg's in his hands, including Spain. Thus, the map is oriented westwards to have Spain as the crowned head, pointing at the Habsburgs' claim to be universal emperors of Europe; the most conspicuous reference to the Holy Roman Empire is the Carolingian hoop crown. Another connection to Charles V is the gown, which resembles the contemporary dress code at the Habsburg court, the face of the queen, which some say resembles Charles V's wife Isabella; as in contemporary portraits of couples, Europa regina has her head turned to her right and she holds the orb with her right hand, interpreted as facing and offering power to her imaginary husband, the emperor. More general, Europe is shown as the res publica christiana, the united Christendom in medieval tradition, great or dominant power in the world. Another allegory is the attribution of Europe as the paradise by special placement of the water bodies; as contemporary iconography depicted the paradise as a closed form, Europa regina is enclosed by seas and rivers.
The Danube river is depicted in a way that it resembles the course of the biblical river flowing through the paradise, with its estuary formed by four arms. That Europa regina is surrounded by water is an allusion to the mythological Europa, abducted by Zeus and carried over the water. Europa regina belongs to the Early Modern allegory of Europa triumphans, as opposed to Europa deplorans. Charlemagne known as Charles the Great, is considered the founder of the French and German monarchies. Known as Pater Europae, he established an empire that represented the most expansive European unification since the fall of the Western Roman Empire and brought about a renaissance that formed a pan-European identity whilst marking the end of the Dark Ages. There was a contemporary intellectual and cultural revival which profoundly marked the history of Western Europe; this gave Charlemagne a legendary standing. For many centuries, European royal houses sought to associate themselves with the Carolingian heritage.
The crowns of the Holy Roman Empire and Napoleon Bonaparte were for i